Empirical Musicology: Aims, Methods, Prospects

By Eric Clarke; Nicholas Cook | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
Modeling Musical Structure

Anthony Pople

More than 20 years ago, music analysis was famously described by Ian Bent as “that part of the study of music which takes as its starting-point the music itself, rather than external factors” (Bent 1980: 341). Indeed, analysis is generally motivated by a desire to encounter a piece of music more closely, to submit to it at length, and to be deeply engaged by it, in the hope of thereby understanding more fully how it makes its effect. It is perhaps not surprising, then, that if you were to take a look at the kinds of writing that have at one time or another been thought of as music analysis, the variety would be immense. To a large extent this is because of the personal element in analysis: a piece of analytical writing is almost always the work of one person, and is founded in that person’s own experience of an individual work. But even in this regard music analysis is significantly different from music criticism, or indeed literary criticism, because analysts generally try to play down the fact that their analyses are dependent on a personal viewpoint. Although music analysis certainly does have a critical dimension as one of its characteristic attributes (see Pople 1994), a writer of music analysis will in general try to present his or her observations as representing a musical experience that can be shared, and will address the reader as a kindred spirit eager to inquire about the piece in the same terms as the author has done.

This balance between the personal point of view and the potential for capturing shared experience makes music analysis a domain that is not only by its very nature empirical, but also one on which formal empirical methods can be brought to bear. However, the fact that one can say this in relation to analysis as the term is understood today is very much a consequence of the prevailing close relationship between music analysis and music theory.

As Nicholas Cook has pointed out, there is a broad historical distinction between music theory—which studies musical works in order to deduce “more general principles of musical structure”—and music analysis, in which the interest is focused on individual pieces of music (Cook 1987: 7). Since about 1970, without contradicting this distinction, a symbiotic relationship has arisen between theory and analysis: theory has developed by using analysis as a kind of test-bed, while professional analysts have by and large conscientiously used the language of contemporary theory to express their insights. This scenario is sufficiently close to the scientific model of hypothesis and experiment to have aroused antagonism from some humanities scholars (see, for example, Snarrenberg 1994: 50–55). But it has also allowed other scholars from disciplines that are more committed to formal methodol

-127-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Empirical Musicology: Aims, Methods, Prospects
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 229

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.